Boston Women's Memorial

When I was in Boston recently I took a photowalk in the Back Bay area. We started in Copley Square, which I was familiar with, but ended up on Commonwealth Avenue, which I hadn't seen before. It's a parkway with a broad grassy mall, adorned with many interesting statues and sculptures. One grouping is the Boston Women's Memorial, which "celebrates three important contributors to Boston's rich history - Abigail Adams, Lucy Stone, and Phillis Wheatley. Each of these women had progressive ideas that were ahead of her time, was committed to social change, and left a legacy through her writings that had a significant impact on history." ( See web site).

Our group was on Commonwealth Avenue at the same time as a Susan G. Komen March for the Cure, which had decorated the statues with pink beads and pom-poms. Would the historic women have been amused?

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Phyllis Wheatley. According to Wikipedia: "Phillis Wheatley (1753 - December 5, 1784) was the first published African American poet and first African-American woman whose writings were published.[1] Born in Gambia, Senegal, she was made a slave at age seven. She was purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write, and helped encourage her poetry.

The 1773 publication of Wheatley's Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral brought her fame, with figures such as George Washington praising her work. Wheatley also visited England for five weeks accompanying her master's son and was praised in a poem by fellow African American poet Jupiter Hammon. Wheatley was emancipated by her owners after both her poetic success[2] and the death of her master, and she soon married. However, when her husband was imprisoned for debt in 1784, Wheatley fell into poverty and died of illness."

(click to enlarge)

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(click to enlarge) Abigail Adams, who probably needs no introduction.

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This page contains a single entry by Victor Bloomfield published on August 1, 2011 11:20 AM.

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